I recall a conversation I had with a realtor several years ago. She told me that "if it were as difficult to get a marriage license as it is to qualify for a home loan, there would be a heck of a lot less divorces." In light of the current home loan crisis, perhaps lending practices also need to be reconsidered. However, she did make a good point. Having processed countless annulment cases over the years, I and many other priests have been surprised at the lack of due consideration that many couples give to entering marriage. Because of this collective experience, the Catholic Church in the USA has come up with several common sense requirements of couples prior to marriage. In my Diocese some of these include:
1) a minimum four (4) month waiting period after a couple requests marriage before the wedding can take place.
2) during that waiting period the Church requires a minimum of eight (8) hours prenuptial instruction. This usually means attending a weekend seminar (Engaged Encounter) where the couple hear presentations on finance, communication skills, sexuality, family life (including relationships with in-laws), etc. The couples then, are given several reflection questions. They write down their thoughts and feelings in a journal and then, privately exchange those answers with each other.
At the Newman Center, we also required the couple to have a session with a marriage counselor prior to their wedding.
Now, if that were required by Proposition 8 THEN, they could sincerely claim that it was about "Protecting" or "Restoring" marriage. As written, Prop 8 does nothing, ZERO, to actually help any marriages. It merely takes away the right of same sex couples to marriage and in effect promotes promiscuity in society by unfairly taking marriage away from same sex couples as a real world option.